I can't make this stuff up. This really happened to me tonight.
I'm at the Chinese place on the corner getting dinner on the way home from the train. As I'm paying for my food and about to pick up my take-away sack full of food and hot mustard packets, the guy behind the counter really looks at me and says: "Where you from?"
Please note, English is NOT his first language. And I was NOT anticipating any personal interactions or potentially loaded conversations.
Not quite understanding, I give him a quizzical look.
He responds: "Where are you from?"
I very hesitantly reply, “America.” But my voice trails up, questioningly, because I have NO idea why he's asking.
He tries to clarify: "Where is your family from?"
I still have NO idea why he's asking, because ... Look, I just want my Chinese food and my sweatpants. I didn't know I was going to get an inquisition with my beef and broccoli.
I give him the easiest, briefest, least complicated answer: "England a long time ago. Why?"
He points to my head: "Because, your hair …"
Now, could I tell him that once upon a time in the '70s I did look like a little semi-ethnic child, with the flow of raven locks to the middle of back, or later in the '80s when I have my semi-bowl haircut that I might have been mistaken for someone possibly from Asia and not almost 100% European ... but again, this was just supposed to be about my beef and broccoli.
And I quickly left.
I mean, I could try and explain a about the possible native American ancestor, or the possible Spanish relative, or very likely Black Irish or Welsh ancestry - but ... Do you expect a DNA test when you order your no-MSG meal?
So … That happened. At least he didn’t make a comment about the grey, I guess.
Maybe it's time to order the AncestryDNA kits and finally get the answers to the questions. Just so I can finally go back to the Chinese place again.